I have never visited a holy site, nor have I brought a child into this world. But for a brief moment, I knew what it was like to feel pure joy. It was watching the season three finale of Legends of Tomorrow.
This might be one of the greatest season finales I’ve ever seen on television. I am not kidding. Granted, it wasn’t world-altering like the first season finale of Westworld, nor did it perfectly resolve years of storylines, like “The Gift” from season five of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. But Legends of Tomorrow’s season three closer, “The Good, the Bad, and the Cuddly,” was unbelievably fun, an hour-long journey through every one of your favorite Disneyland rides at the same time.
It picks up right where the penultimate episode left off. Mallus has been freed from his prison and is hurling fireballs at our heroes because that’s literally all he knows how to do apparently (other than getting his demon ass handed to him later). Sara knows the Legends are no match for him, so they secure a hasty retreat, with Rip Hunter buying them some time by sacrificing himself to time scatter Mallus as sepia-toned memories play in the background. It’s a sad and noble end to the former captain—though I’m not totally convinced he’s actually croaked. It’s certainly not the first time Rick has supposedly sacrificed himself for the team. He could easily have just gone back to George Lucas to help make his shitty Legends movie. As far as I’m concerned, unless you see a corpse, they’re not really gone. And, as the Arrowverse has proven time and time again, even then it’s not a sure thing.
Sara and the other Legends head to the Old West to hang out with Jonah Hex and try to shield the totems from Mallus’ creepy gaze. Much like every other Legends plan, it doesn’t work for very long. In pops a Mallus-controlled army from across time, led by anachronisms Captain Blackbeard, Julius Caesar, and Viking shield-maiden (and devoted worshipper of Beebo) Freydís. This whole episode is a “who’s who” of season three characters and cameos, and every one of them is a treasure. For example, Ava brings a mini-army of her own to try and help the Legends defeat Mallus and his army. We see Helen of Troy, now a badass warrior of Themyscira, a time-altered heroic Kuasa, and Jefferson (Franz Drameh)! The prodigal son has returned, and he’s got a wife and baby now. He doesn’t get a lot to do in the episode, but honestly, I didn’t care. It was nice to see him back. Made me miss Martin, though.
A good portion of the episode focuses on the Legends avoiding, preparing, and confronting the big bad of the season. As Amaya and Nate embark on a vision quest to find the truth behind the totems, Ray helps Damien Darhk save his daughter from being killed by Mallus (see what I mean about needing a corpse?), which turns Damien into the demon. Oh snap, not my main man! Still gotta kill him, though. Eventually, the Legends learn the secret how to destroy Mallus once and for all: the Care Bear Stare! Specifically, they all need to combine their totem powers and morph into a being of pure light and goodness. Call it Voltron, call it Captain Planet, but I call it something else: Perfection.
Hopefully, you’ve seen the episode already and know what I’m talking about. The way Mallus is defeated can, should, and better damn well go down as one of the most epic battles ever shown on television. Screw the Battle of the Bastards. Forget Peter Griffin versus that stupid chicken. This fight will go down in history. Honestly, I can’t even do it justice, so I’m just going to share my actual notes from when I was watching the episode:
That’s right. A giant Cuddle Me Beebo defeated Mallus. I write that sentence in disbelief because I still can’t imagine Legends of Tomorrow did something this pure. I woke up my husband by laughing and cheering so loud, that’s how awesome those few minutes were. What is this show and how can I convert it into blood, because I want to feel this good all the time.
After the blue fluff settled and everyone acknowledged that “Yes, we actually did do that,” the gang starts to go their separate ways. Our temporary warriors head back to their own times, Ray gives Nora Darhk a time stone so she can eventually escape the Time Bureau’s custody (though it would be weird if they didn’t search her upon capture) and hopefully become a good person, and Zari flirts a bit with Jonah Hex because scars are sexy. We also say goodbye to Amaya, who finally heads back to her own time. I’m not sad to see her go—as I said before, she’s the absolute worst—but I did appreciate how she eventually took responsibility for how badly she’d screwed things up. I was wondering whether it would turn out that Nate was the father of her children and would stay with her, but he doesn’t.
Instead, Nate heads with the Legends to Aruba... finally Mick gets to realize his season-long dream! But not for long. In pops Gary(!), dressed up as Constantine because he totally loves his new BFF and gaming buddy. New series regular John Constantine is there too, and he is rightfully pissed off. He dumps a dragon head in their laps and tells them the Legends they done goofed up because Mallus wasn’t the only thing they set loose when they freed the demon. Cue season four.
Legends of Tomorrow is the kind of show that is too good to exist, but it does and we should all be grateful. The writing is solid, the characters are (mostly) a delight, and it just leaves you feeling like you’ve spent the past hour in a giant blue fluffy hug. Thank you, Legends, for making my Monday nights feel legendary. All praise to Beebo.
- Wally West correcting the team that Mallus’ name is pronounced “Malice,” not “Mollus,” was very satisfying. I’ve been telling you that for months, Legends.
- Shout out to the Wilhelm scream!
- Man, this fight scene must have been expensive as hell. I’m guessing it’s the reason why we rarely saw Nate “steel up” or Ray use his shrinking suit. Gotta save the budget for the big guns.
- Of course Zari listens to death metal. Hell yeah.
- I’m curious what role Nora Darhk is going to have in the future. I like the actress, and clearly they’re setting up some kind of a friendship or romance with Ray, which works well between them. I’d love to see Ray come out of his shell a bit, and Nora seems like the perfect person for him to do that with. Also, wonder whether Damien’s coming back. I didn’t see a corpse!
- We were all Freydís realizing that Beebo was the one true god. We will give you cuddles, oh great leader. All the cuddles.